Friday, January 20, 2012

Is U.S. Planning Military Force to Suppress Unions and OWS?

Image from Flickr, by World Can't Wait
As I reported on Modern School recently, the U.S. government has committed Coast Guard ships and helicopters to defending the interests of private capital in Washington State against striking ILWU members. The Coast Guard will supposedly be protecting empty ships as they arrive in the port of Longview, Washington to pick up grain from the EGT grain terminal. EGT, which owns the terminal, has been hiring scab labor to operate the terminal, in violation of prior agreements with the ILWU. EGT has utilized the local police and private goons to intimidate ILWU members and their families, including several hundred arrests and violent assaults on peacefully demonstrating long shore workers and their families.

With Obama’s signing of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), any ILWU member accused of committing a “belligerent act” against the United States could be imprisoned indefinitely without charges or trial on the orders of the president. This means that any direct action aimed at interfering with boats arriving to pick up grain in Longview could be considered an act of aggression against the U.S. government now that those boats will be under the protection of the U.S. government.

According to Insurgent Notes, U.S. ports are already semi-militarized by “Homeland Security.” Longshoremen are required to show three electronic “smart card” IDs to enter their workplaces each day, and they are subject to background security checks.

Journalist Chris Hedges has sued the U.S. government to halt NDAA, saying it violates the constitution, as it allows the U.S. military to arrest anyone anywhere in the world and hold them indefinitely without charges. Public interest lawyer Carl Mayer told the Epoch Times that the law violates the 1st and 5th amendments. While lawmakers and the mainstream press continue to insist the law is meant to halt terrorist acts against the U.S., Hedges believes NDAA was designed specifically to be used against dissenters within the U.S., including anyone involved in movements deemed threatening to the “corporate state,” such as the OWS movement. (Click here to read Hedges “Why I’m Suing Obama.”)

The date of arrival of the first Coast Guard-escorted ship to the Port of Longview is a closely guarded secret. However, according to Insurgent Notes, OWS activists in the San Francisco Bay Area, Portland and Seattle are organizing caravans to Longview when the date becomes known. Elsewhere in the United States, Occupy is planning demonstrations at Coast Guard offices and at the offices of the three corporations which jointly own EGT.

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